Lesson Plan and Activity Finder

Find more than 90 FREE classroom lessons, multimedia activities, and more on the effects of drugs and drug use on the brain, body, and life of teens – all funded or created by NIDA.
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Science Education Against Drug Abuse Partnership (SEADAP)

Science Education Against Drug Abuse Partnership (SEADAP)

June 2017

This program, designed for use in the science classroom, uses the aquatic flatworm (planarian) to teach students how drugs work in the brain to produce addiction. In these lessons, students have the opportunity to conduct experiments designed to help them discover the impact of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol on the functioning of neurons and the brain. 

Grade: 6-12

Science Education Enhances Knowledge (SEEK) About Tobacco

October 2015

Students participate in missions and problem solve to learn the science behind nicotine addiction, the contributions by various kinds of tobacco products to the development of cancer, and the role of marketing in tobacco product use. A virtual lab activity challenges students to determine whether compounds in tobacco can cause DNA mutations in a strain of bacteria (Serratia marcescens).

Grade: 9-12

Addiction: Genetics & The Brain

Science of Addiction: Genetics & the Brain

October 2015

Multiple interactive games give teens the opportunity to explore how the brain works, the effects of drugs on the brain, the role of genetic susceptibility in addiction, and more.

Grade: 6-12

Smoking and How it Changes the Brain

Smoking and How it Changes the Brain

June 2017

This web-based interactive 3D virtual experience helps students learn how smoking cigarettes changes the brain. Students will travel into the avatar’s brain where they will interact with nicotine molecules and learn how smoking changes receptors that provide pleasurable feelings. They will learn about the reward pathway and how cigarettes impact it.

Grade: 9-12

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

June 2017

Teens have the opportunity to explore the chemicals in plants that have medicinal properties, in particular neuroactive properties. They will explore how plant extracts can act as stimulants or depressants, how some plant extracts can slow the growth of bacteria in neurological disease, and much more.

Grade: 6-8

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience - Chromatography: Observing Complex Combinations of Chemical Compounds

July 2017

Students learn that plant extracts are mixtures of many chemical compounds and that it is possible to separate these compounds using chromatography. In the lab portion, students will do chromatography of a black marker to understand how a single liquid (black ink) is comprised of many different chemicals. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series.

Grade: 6-8

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience - Botanical Heart Throbs: Investigating the Effects of Plant Extracts on Heart Rate in Lumbriculus Worms

July 2017

This lesson should be taught after completing the Infusions & Decoctions: Preparing Plant Extracts lesson. Students will learn how chemical transmission works in the nervous system and circulatory system, using two plants as case studies: foxglove and valerian. In the lab portion, students will explore how plant extracts act as stimulants or depressants and effect the circulatory system of Lumbriculus. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series.

Grade: 6-8

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience – Botanical Superheroes: Investigation the Antibacterial Properties of Plant Extracts

July 2017

Students learn that bacteria can cause illness, including neurological diseases such as meningitis. In the lab portion, they examine whether some plant extracts are effective at slowing down the growth of bacteria. Students will expose bacteria to penicillin, water, and several different plant extracts (including garlic juice and the essential oils of tea tree and clove) to determine whether plant extracts inhibit bacterial growth. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series. 

Grade: 6-8

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience – Heads and Tails: Investigating the Effects of Plant Extracts on Planaria Regeneration

July 2017

This lesson should be taught after completing the Infusions & Decoctions: Preparing Plant Extracts lesson. Students are introduced to the concepts of stem cells and regeneration using planaria as a model organism. Students will learn how neuroscience research promotes health and leads to understanding and therapies. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series. 

Grade: 6-8

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience – If Worms Drank Coffee: Investigating the Effects of Plant Extracts on Planaria Movement

July 2017

Students will observe and count planaria (flatworms) movements with and without the addition of a plant extract. Just as plants are used daily to alter mental function, some people regularly use alcohol, nicotine, and illegal drugs such as cocaine; these drugs are derived from plants and have large effects on the human nervous system. Students will explore how plant extracts act as stimulants or depressants and affect planaria movement. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series. 

Grade: 6-8

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